Oliver Shaw - Lyme Bay

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Age: 23
Vineyard: Lyme Bay
Position: Assistant Winemaker

 

What inspired you to become a winemaker?

 

My inspiration came at a young age, watching my family socialize around the dinner table. I instantly wanted to understand wine and how it was made. 

 

Please briefly describe your winemaking journey so far…

 

Before coming into the wine industry I was training to go into the Royal Marines- something obviously changed my mind. At 18 I began my journey into wine making working at Froginwell Vineyard near Exeter.  I then travelled to Department 66, Maury, Languedoc, to work in the vineyards and barrel room. Following that, I enrolled at Plumpton College studying wine making. In the summer, it was off to Sark in the Channel Islands working in the vineyards. Then it was back to Plumpton College to start my Second year and finish my FdSc in wine production. I abandoned my studies to work in Beaujolais at the Château La Grange Cochard.  Back in the UK I was employed as an Assistant Vineyard Manager at Denbies, Dorking, Surrey. I now work as an Assistant Winemaker at Lyme Bay.

 

Describe your personal highlight of your career so far.

 

My personal highlight would be working in Beaujolais, at the Château La Grange Cochard. I drove from the UK in the last week of summer in a car with no air conditioning, with the windows down for the 8 hour drive. I parked up at the Château to start one of the best two months of my wine making career to date. I left with wonderful memories, increased knowledge and an even greater love of Beaujolais.  In terms of highlights in England, it has to be driving a New Holland Grape Harvester at Denbies!

 

Can you think of a valuable piece of information/advice you wish you had been given prior to training?

 

All experience is valuable, even when things go wrong.

 

Which of your current wines are you most excited about?

 

Our 2016 Pinot Noir. It has a fantastic color, and a depth of flavor that is not expected. A personal favorite of mine and I recommend it to anyone. 

 

What were the last two truly memorable English wines (that weren’t your own) that you tasted?

 

Litmus Wines 2014 Element 20 100% Pinot Noir
Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV

 

Decanter recently published an article which highlighted a shortage of young recruits into the English Wine industry - what would you say in order to convince young people in the UK into considering a career in winemaking?

 

In the 5 years I have been in the wine industry I have learnt skills in chemistry, biology agriculture and management. I have worked on an island with no cars made great wine (sometimes) and lived in a beautiful château. Finally, I have worked with some inspiring, friendly passionate people – you don’t get that in many industries.